Kim Burden, Executive Director Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce presented to Parksville City Council.
Thank you for the opportunity to present the Chamber’s perspective on economic development. When we talk about economic development, we are really talking about community development. We are talking about the managed growth of our economy through business attraction, expansion and retention. We want to grow jobs and by growing jobs improve the economy of the region for the benefit of residents who want to work here and residents who want to relax here and have the services and goods they need locally.
Our current economy is sound with a great deal of room for improvement.
The Chamber recently completed a Labour Needs Assessment. There is a current labour shortage in all sectors at all levels. There is a housing shortage making it difficult for workers wanting to work here being able to also live here. There is a transportation challenge through the high cost of operating private transportation and the lack of public transportation in outlying region where the cost of housing is cheaper. There is a need to improve local skills training therefore before we look to attract any new enterprise which will require a significant number of employees, we need to address these challenges and our primary goals should focus on growing existing businesses to increase the work force slowly while we deal with transportation, housing and local skills development.